Time’s shortening out and the trip is getting near! We’ve come across some minor changes as the organizational side of the trip is put together, nothing major, things to be expected on a trip like this. The first big change happened on a trip up to Stevens Pass Ski Resort about a month ago. Sitting in the passenger seat of the 4 Runner listening to the floored blaring motor doing 45mph up the steep incline Jennifer tried to make a phone call. A good amount of What? Huh? What was that? before the conversation was over. I looked over at her as we hit another jolting bounce and asked “what do you think? 3000 miles of this?”

3 days later I got the answer as we purchased a 2000 Chevy Astro AWD van and made plans to sell the Toyota. I know, it’s a mini-van, soccer mom comments and all, but it’ll do almost everything the 4 Runner will do and do it more comfortably. It gets the same gas mileage, has AWD traction, and has more cargo space after we took out the 3rd rear seat. I know, it doesn’t have the removable hard top, but since we moved aboard the boat I haven’t had a spot to stick the hard top when I want to take it off so it’s never been removed in the past 2 years. $2700 after tabs and taxes for the van and I sold the Toyota a few nights later to a sailing buddy for $1700. Our first real investment of the trip - $1000, for the comfort alone it’s worth it and our towing capacity is now up to 4700lbs, something the Toyota could never pull.

The ride settled, it was time to put together our itinerary. Well for Jennifer to put it together, and make sure that her friends would be around on the days we wanted to show up. Good thing she did, as our first stop in Idaho would have been a lonely one - her friend wouldn’t be home until 2 days after we drove through! So our departure date has been pushed out to Saturday, March 3. Once packed up we plan to sail our house, the Wasa 38, over to the Elliot Bay Marina on February 29th, our 2nd anniversary in 8 years of marriage. We’ll enjoy dinner at the Pallisade’s restaurant with the gift certificate thank you I received from a fellow boat worker and start our adventure on the 1st of March anyway by sailing Vanadis over to Bainbridge, getting her situated for 6 to 7 months of neglect and solitude while we figure out how to get back to Seattle and pick up our Astro Van, our Ride to the East Coast. Back to Seattle on Friday evening we’ll spend the night on a friends boat I’ve been working on, shh, he doesn’t know about it yet. And Saturday morning we’ll have our departure breakfast at the Ballard Smoke Shop. One of the last places in Ballard that exudes the communities history and roots - along with one heck of a chicken fried steak and eggs.

Once on the road our first destination is 350 miles away in St. Maries, Idaho where we’ll spend the night at Lisa and Mike Spinelli’s. But along the way we’ll hopefully stop at a serious roadside attraction - the worlds largest Radio Flyer Wagon in Spokane, WA. Sunday morning we depart for 520 miles of picturesque northern Idaho and Montana with a nights layover in Billings, Montana in a hotel. Along the way we’ll find the Worlds Largest Miner’s Hat in Kellogg, ID and maybe some good beer in Missoula, Montana if we’re lucky.

Monday morning we head off on a 540 mile trek through the thrilling eastern side of Wyoming (thrilling is sarcasm by the way). But - along the way in Douglas, Wyoming is the worlds largest Jackalope. Yep, Jackalope - I’ve no idea what a Jackalope is so this one aught to be interesting on many levels. If it offers something more than desolate wind swept icy snowdrift covered roads, I’m in. 10 hours later we’ll arrive in the beautiful little village of Boulder, Colorado and stay at the house of Jennifer’s long time friend, Lori Ostrow. We plan on spending two nights in Boulder with Lori, maybe see the worlds largest Cream Can in Denver and hopefully catch a Yonder or Leftover Salmon show while we’re there - it should be a hoot!

Tired and hungover we’ll leave Boulder on Wednesday morning on our longest driving stint of the trip - 620 miles to a nice motel lodging in Kansas City, Missouri. We hear that we “just gotta have some BBQ in Kansas City,” but what kind? Ribs? Brisket? What is the area known for? Along the way we can stretch our legs and minds at the Worlds Largest Painting and Easel in Goodland, Kansas and then the Worlds Largest Painted Russian Egg AND the Worlds Largest Meat Cleaver in Topeka, Kansas - Two attractions in one city, inconceivable!

Well feed and rested we’ll leave Kansas City on Thursday morning and take another long drive East, 590 miles to Cincinnati, Ohio and the house of Amanda and Mark Lutz for a few days of catching up and visiting. Along the way we can have a rest stop in St. Louis, Missouri and tour the worlds largest Bowling Pins. I wonder what the ball looks like? We plan on spending Friday with the Lutz’ and head out to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or Washington, D.C. on Saturday morning March 10th. The destination will depend upon which of Jennifer’s brothers and kids are available for a visit. Seven days of driving, sightseeing and visiting to be followed by some serious boats shopping and the start of our East Coast Cruising!

The concise road trip schedule:
Saturday, March 3rd - Depart Seattle Area, destination St. Maries, Idaho. Approximately 350 miles, 5-7 hours. Visit/spend the night with Lisa & Mike Spinelli.
Sunday, March 4th - Depart St. Maries, destination Billings, Montana. Approximately 520 miles, 7-9 hours. Lodge in a motel or a Marriott.
Monday, March 5th - Depart Billings, destination Boulder, Colorado. Approximately 540 miles, 7-9 hours. Visit/spend the night with Lori Ostrow.
Tuesday, March 6th - Tour around Boulder area, visit/spend the night with Lori Ostrow.
Wednesday, March 7th - Depart Boulder, destination Kansas City, Missouri. Approximately 620 miles, 9-11 hours. Lodge in a motel or a Marriott.
Thursday, March 8th - Depart Kansas City, destination Cincinatti, Ohio. Approximately 590 miles, 9-11 hours. Visit/spend the night with Amanda & Mark Lutz.
Friday, March 9th - Visit/spend the night with Amanda & Mark Lutz.
Saturday, March 10th - Visit/spend the night with Amanda & Mark Lutz or depart for Philadelphia or D.C. Area (depending on if Brad has Phineas at this time). If we go to Philly at this time, we will probably stay until Saturday, March 17th in order to see Zachary's play performance on Fri. March 16th. If we go to D.C. Area at this time, we will stay a few days then head to Philly to see Zachary's play on Fri. March 16th. Then head back to Brad's to do some serious boat shopping.